I’ll admit, I’m not all that big a Disney fan. I thought Tangled was beautiful, and I appreciate the Hamlet with lions and singing that is The Lion King, and I found several others quite enjoyable, but I’m not nearly as into them as others I know. I still haven’t seen the entirety of Frozen. I don’t know why, but the only time I ever saw Beauty and the Beast was in French class, and I might have fallen asleep. Everything about Pocahontas makes me mad. And so on. Enchanted, on the other hand, is one of my ultimate feel good movies – partially, of course, because I adore Amy Adams, but also because of Prince Edward of Andalasia.
He is absurdly endearing. Maybe part of the reason I love him so much is that he’s played by James Marsden, but he’s also a legitimately great character. He may not be all that bright, but he’s charming and friendly and supremely talented at going with whatever happens. Most of his dimness is just that he comes from a different world, but even aside from that, he’s kind of lovably dumb, enthusiastic, and melodramatic.
He stabbed a bus! Got run over by a swarm of bicyclists! You sure don’t see Prince Charming doing any of that. Enchanted as a whole is a loving parody of itself, and Edward is a huge part of what allows that to work well. He’s not Giselle’s ultimate love interest, but he’s very far from a villain.
There was no entitlement in him. No toxic masculinity. No “You can’t dump me, I travelled to another world and got run over trying to find you”. Even when he was pointing a sword at Robert, it was never a question of fighting him over Giselle. He legitimately thought Giselle was in danger, and the second she told him that Robert was a friend, he calmed down and put his sword away. When he kissed her and she didn’t wake up, he immediately turned to Robert and told her to do it, because his concern was her life and not his pride. And when it worked, he was off in the background smiling, because he just loves love.
He’s funny, he’s brave, and a large part of the movie is dedicated to affectionately mocking him and the archetype he represents. What Disney prince can top that?